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Mġarr’s New ‘Pathetic’ Bike Lanes Leads To Major Backlash From Cyclists

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Members of the Maltese cycling community are reacting to the recently unveiled bike lanes in the new Mġarr bypass, and it’s not positive.

While works on the bypass have not been completed yet, some parts of the bypass appear to be finished, and yet again, lane segregation was not included for bike lanes.

“With an empty canvas as big as this, how does Infrastructure Malta still manage to find a way to mess it up?” said one cyclist. 

Lovin Malta also reached out to Rota for a comment, the environmental NGO advocating for safe bicycle use in Malta and representing all those who cycle in Malta, who also released a statement.

“Rota is disappointed with the newly renovated Mgarr Road,” the NGO said in the statement.

“Instead of investing in traffic calming measures or road dieting, Infrastructure Malta is encouraging people to over-speed with the concrete crash barriers as ‘safety insurance’, while disregarding all needs of bicycle users and pedestrians,” it said.

The NGO also said the road was poorly designed, and described the new cycle lanes as “too narrow” and a “non-starter.” 

“They offer no physical segregation, which is a must in high-speed zones,” it emphasised.

“Instead of designing for all road users, space was wasted to afford over-speeding and crash barriers.”

The cycling community is heavily criticising the way the space was used, saying it could have been better utilised to ensure safe commuting.

“They looked at the coast road and decided to make it even worse. What a disgrace!” said one, as he compared the road to the coast road.

Bike lane suddenly disappearing

Bike lane suddenly disappearing

Many were also criticising the placement of the rumble strips, which were installed within the bike lane, as well as gutters that make it unsafe for cyclists.

“Why are the rumble strips on the inside of the bike lane? Again? Is it to protect car drivers from homicidal cyclists?” said another cyclist. 

“Rumble strips are used to alert drivers when intruding into the cycle lane, and in any case should have been placed outside the cycle lane. If the car is within the rumble-strip zone, it is already too late for the cyclist,” rota explained.

Many also criticised the varying width of the lane, which was not kept constant throughout the entirety of the road.

One man also personally took it upon himself to go to the bypass and measure the width of the bike lanes, and it turns out the lanes are indeed below minimum standard.

Rota also stressed it is concerned, as bicycle users making use of Mġarr Road are being placed in highly dangerous situations.

Will you be using the new bike lanes? 

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When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) is not busy writing about environmental injustice, she's probably fighting for women's rights. Follow her at @saaxhaa on Instagram, and send her anything related to the environment, art, and women's rights at [email protected]

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